The internet opens up many business opportunities, from connecting with a broader audience to streamlining internal business processes. However, with these opportunities comes significantly increased risk as the internet is incredibly vulnerable to cybercrime.
Cybersecurity is the practice of protecting information on your computer systems, electronic communications, and online accounts from theft or damage. Penetration testing is one of the most effective ways of identifying weaknesses in your cybersecurity. Conducting penetration testing services with a trusted provider can help your business detect cyber breaches early on.
The repercussions of poor security go far beyond just your data: if your systems and data are compromised, it can threaten the financial stability of your entire company. Here are some examples of how cybersecurity problems affect your business as a whole:
1. Unauthorized Access to Your Data
Business data can contain anything from customer information to sales data, which are integral to having a smooth-running business. Do you work with highly sensitive data? Hackers could quickly access your systems and either sell the data they find or use it for personal gain if you have poor cybersecurity measures.
Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated in their methods. They use phishing schemes to convince employees to click on links or download attachments that look legitimate but instead install malware onto the device they are using. Without an established cybersecurity measure, a business will find it challenging to filter the real messages from the fake ones, leaving them vulnerable to potential attacks.
2. Identity Thefts, Frauds, and Losses
Hackers can use your information and data to commit fraud and identity thefts. Commonly, they steal personal information such as social security, credit card numbers, and e-mail passwords. They can also steal digital property or information that gives them access to company funds.
3. Lost Productivity
Productivity is one of the most vital factors in the success of any business. Cyberattacks are disruptive—they can stop employees from working while attempting to resolve the issues and bring in IT specialists to help. These disruptions can be catastrophic for a small business as they can directly affect its productivity. Productivity losses directly impact a company’s bottom line.
4. Loss Of Clients and Reputation Damage
Knowing that a company has poor cybersecurity measures affects customer perception and can cost them clients. Customers want to do business with organizations they feel their information is safe and secure. When a company gets hacked and sensitive data and personal information are leaked, it loses credibility.
Reputation also affects a company’s ability to secure investment and partnerships. When business relationships require sharing sensitive information, organizations may decide not to work with a company they feel is not secure.
5. Loss Of Valuable Employees
Employees are the lifeblood of any company. When these valuable assets feel they cannot trust their company to protect them and their data, they start looking for employment elsewhere. Organizations may struggle to secure talent when seen as easy targets who fail to protect their employees’ information.
6. Damage to Company’s Assets
Software and physical equipment are a company’s assets. Hackers might use malware to destroy a company’s system, rendering all the devices inoperable. If the action happens quickly or is undetected, then companies might find themselves at a loss for all of their work.
7. Litigation Costs And Settlements
A company’s customers, business partners, and even employees can sue a business if they feel that it has not adequately protected them. There are many ways this can happen. For example, an employer might sue if their employee’s personal information has been compromised. Customers may sue if they feel that the business did not act swiftly to resolve an issue or after suffering direct financial harm due to a cyberattack.
Settlements from lawsuits can be expensive. Companies may find that they were more financially viable before any complaints or cyberattacks occurred; litigation costs might exceed any savings the company has made by neglecting cybersecurity.
8. Government Fines and Penalties
When a company neglects to install proper security measures, the authority might intervene. A government might issue fines and penalties for data breaches or failure to meet cybersecurity regulations which affect how businesses handle sensitive data. Some cyberattacks may come with criminal charges depending on their severity. Criminal charges can result in prison time – far more than any monetary penalty.
All of these risks can affect business leaders in many ways. Some, like loss of productivity and lost clients, directly impact a company’s bottom line. Others, like litigation costs or government fines, can force leaders to divert money away from saving towards fixing the issue. By investing in cybersecurity professionals and putting proper measures in place, businesses can protect their company’s interests.